ABC News’ Bret Hovell and Sunlen Miller Report: A small battle is brewing between Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over whether to take public financing if they face off against each other in the general election.
The Obama campaign says that they are going to wait until the general election to make a decision. For his part, McCain is trying to pin Obama down on comments made earlier in the year that show him leaning toward an agreement to have public financing.
"It was very clear to me that Senator Obama had agreed to having public financing of the general election campaign if I did the same thing," McCain told a crowd in Oshkosh, Wisconsin Friday morning, "I made the commitment to the American people that if I were the nominee of my party, I would go the route of public financing. I expect Senator Obama to keep his word to the American people as well."
Obama responded to McCain’s comments in the nearby city of Milwaukee, saying the jury is still out on his commitment. Obama explained that it would be something he’d have to talk over with McCain if they both were their respective party’s nominees, but indicated the discussion is premature at this point.
"If I am the nominee, then I will make sure that our people talk to John McCain’s people to find out if we’re willing to abide by the same rules and regulations with respect to the general election going forward. But it would be presumptuous of me to say now that I’m locking myself into something when I don’t even know if the other side is going to agree to it."
McCain countered that if Obama decides to not have public financing then he’d rethink his own position, "Our whole agreement was that we would take public financing if he made that commitment as well. And he signed a piece of paper, I’m told, that made that commitment."
Having public financing would benefit McCain more than it would Obama, as the Senator from Illinois has raised more for the general election.